EXCERPTS FROM THE REVIEW
The following are excerpts from the April 13, 2015 WYPR Review of Ghosts by J. Wynn Rousuck
Assisted suicide. Sexually transmitted disease. Conservative religious hypocrites. No, we’re not talking about the Maryland General Assembly, or experiments in Guatemala, or a Bill Maher documentary.
We’re talking about a play written in Norway in 1881 -- Henrik Ibsen’s “Ghosts.” It was scandalous material back then. And it remains disturbing and timely, as Everyman Theatre’s new production proves. The final scene brought an audience member seated near me to tears.
I credit part of the audience member’s reaction to Deborah Hazlett’s strong portrayal of Mrs. Helene Alving, the play’s protagonist. Mrs. Alving is one of Ibsen’s forward-thinking, self-actualized heroines.
Although there are only five characters in “Ghosts,” Ibsen managed to portray a wide swath of society including representatives of home and family, the church, the arts and the working class. Director Donald Hicken makes the distinctions between these social strata clear and their connections credible.
Bruce Randolph Nelson is especially effective as a workman who is wilier than he appears – particularly when it comes to getting what he wants from the pastor.
Designer Daniel Ettinger’s set includes a hint of the trouble creeping into the Alving household. There’s dead ivy attached to the woodwork in the Alvings’ prim Victorian parlor. Even weeds have succumbed in this repressive atmosphere.
Pay attention, and Everyman’s “Ghosts” will leave you thinking much more about recent headlines than about Victorian Norway. More than a century later, Ibsen’s ghost story still has the power to scare us.